INDIANAPOLIS – Offense reigned supreme at Victory Field on Friday night. The Indianapolis Indians (16-16) outhit the Columbus Clippers (16-17) by a count of 14-10, but the Clips pushed across two more runs to emerge with a win.
Columbus scored eight unanswered runs after falling behind 3-0 and staved off a late rally from the Tribe, opening a three-game set in the Circle City with a 8-6 win.
Stephen Fife started on the mound for the Clippers and was hit hard in a hurry.
Indy notched four hits and a walk against Fife in the bottom of the first, grabbing a quick 2-0 edge. If not for a double play, the damage could have been more. Fife then worked around an error to turn in a scoreless second, but back-to-back hits in the second extended the Tribe’s lead to 3-0.
Fife ended up working through 5.2 innings, keeping the Indians to those three runs on 11 hits and two walks.
Clay Holmes opposed Fife as Indianapolis’ starting pitcher. Holmes kept the Clips off of the scoreboard through three innings, but the wheels began to fall off in the fourth.
Columbus was fast to put the pressure on Holmes, using a walk and a double to set the table for a run-scoring groundout. Yu Chang singled next to make it 3-2, with another single and a walk loading the bases. Holmes did get a strikeout and a groundout to stop the bleeding, but a run-scoring walk in between tied the score at 3-3.
The fourth inning was rough enough for Holmes, but inning number five ended his night.
Consecutive singles started the frame for the Clippers, with a run-scoring error to follow. That gave Columbus a 4-3 advantage, but they weren’t done there. Adam Rosales knocked home another run and Brandon Barnes later came up with the big two-out, two-run double to push the visitors ahead 8-3.
Holmes was yanked after 4.1 innings of work, but with the runners on base that he was responsible for he was left with a final line of seven runs allowed (five earned) on eight hits and four walks.
Friday’s ballgame was locked at a 8-3 score until the eighth, when the Indians mounted a bit of a rally.
Eric Wood started the bottom of the eighth with a single, but it was two-out action that gave Indianapolis some life. Kevin Newman drove Wood home to make it 8-4, with Chris Bostick stepping up to bat next. He went yard to right center, trimming the Clips’ cushion down to two runs at 8-6.
Unfortunately that was it for the Tribe, who went down in order in the ninth to seal the 8-6 victory for Columbus.
The middle game of this series is scheduled to get underway at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday. Joe Musgrove is expected to make a MLB rehab start for the Indians.